Canadian accounting data capture specialist Hubdoc announced its arrival in the UK at QuickBooks Connect in London this week.
Hubdoc is something of a sensation in North America, where it has won rave reviews from accountants using QuickBooks and Xero and built up a significant user base in less than four years thanks to the way it seeks out clients’ financial data and converts it into transactions that are logged in their online books.
“The first thing we usually ask accountants is, ‘Do you ever have trouble retrieving documents from clients?’ Of course they do!” said Hubdoc co-founder Jamie Shulman in London this week. “So that’s what we do set out to do - remove the torment of retrieving documents so accountants and bookkeepers can have them when they need them.”
He continued: “We started out from day on focusing on advisers and what we do resonates with them because it saves them time.
The magic: turning documents into data
“You could call it magic, but what we’re doing is automating the document collection – and with those documents comes the bookkeeping data.”
Once the client has signed up and authorised Hubdoc to connect with their financial services providers, the app automatically fetches documentation including bank feeds, statements, bills receipts, invoices and transactions from online services such as Uber and PayPal.
As Jodi Linick explained on our US sister site, Hubdoc offers several ways to upload documents that can’t be retrieved automatically to Hubdoc, including its companion phone app that can take a picture of documents, by emailing them to a dedicated Hubdoc email address or dragging and dropping files into the web browser version.Using optical character recognition, Hubdoc then strips out the relevant data to automate entries into the client’s accounting ledger.
UK market beckons
Europe offers some interesting opportunities for the developer, Shulman explained. Hubdoc cut its teeth in the USA, where it developed tools to extract bank data from thousands of banks, each of which operates in a specific state. The open banking movement in Europe will simplify the process significantly by letting the application plug into standard application programming interfaces (APIs).
Making Tax Digital and GDPR will also be potential boons for Hubdoc. “If they have to produce these reports quarterly, MTD is going to force businesses to be a little more organised,” Shulman said.
“GDPR also helps us. We’re always thinking about data. Often firms don’t want staff to have access to data. So we act as a middle person to encrypt credentials in a permissioned way. We’re being told by our contacts in the UK that there is a confluence of factors – this could be a perfect time for Hubdoc.”
Find out more from the horse's mouth with this video interview with Jamie Shulman back in November 2014 - the company's first official outing as an app developer:
AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.